Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nora and Gramma's Special Day

Being the oldest child in a family of five siblings, I always thought my position was the most difficult. I thought I was the only sibling who had to do any work. Then when I got older, I felt like I was given too much responsibility and it was never appreciate. Poor me.

But as I've aged I've come to realize my position as the oldest had some benefits, and I've become increasingly interested in the importance of child's position in the family as it's related to that child's personality.

In my middle daughter's family, I see an older sister who is outgoing, vivacious, and always smiling.
And I see the baby sister who is cute and funny and coddled by everyone in the family. And then there is Nora, the middle sister. Oh, I've grown to love that child. She is shy, a little introverted, and sometimes seems to get lost in the middle of everything.

Last week was her birthday and I told her I wanted to spend some special time with her."Just you and me?" she asked. When I assured her it would be just the two of us, you should have seen her smile. Because she's a little shy, she sometimes has a difficult time expressing her feelings...but not when I told her we were going to have a special day just for her.

Yesterday was that day. When I picked her up, she was ready, and it looked like she was going to burst with happiness.  We had already decided what we were going to do. We were going to Build-a-Bear first. She could have any bear she wanted and dress it any way she wanted to. It would be her birthday gift from Gramma. We had so much fun. She named her bear "Sparkle" and we got a real birth certificate for it. She got to dress it in princess clothes. Her smile was priceless, as you can tell from the picture.

After that we walked around the big mall, and since none of us get to "the city" very often, riding the escalators and elevators was a special treat. We ended our trip to the mall with a double fudge chocolate chip cookie from the cookie store. Nora and I share a love for chocolate.

Then it was Gramma's turn to pick a place to go. Do you happen to have that one place on earth that you love so much that it always feels like you are "Home" when you're there? That's where I wanted to go, and I wanted to share it with my special girl of the day. So, off to the botanical gardens we went, and I'm happy to say she was as enchanted with it as I am. We were a little early to see all the spring flowers, but the daffodils (my favorites because they are yellow) were in full bloom.

Nora also wanted her picture taken in front of the bird lady statue.


And before we left we had to have our picture taken by the "gramma and girl" statue.

Then we asked a nice lady to take our picture in front of the prettiest tree in the garden

We ended our day by meeting her two sisters and mom at the park down by the river. When I look at the picture, Nora is shining as brightly as her older sister and the baby sister. I think a day of being "special" will do that to a girl. And it makes a Gramma feel very happy too!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014...gone now, but there will always be precious memories

Eight of my nine grandbabies. I was so happy they came to Gramma's for Easter! Was missing that ninth one until I got this picture of how she and her new husband spent their first Easter as man and wife and i knew they were exactly where they were suppose to be.

And since Easter and Spring mean new life, there had to be one picture of Naomi on her first Easter

Then it was time for the Easter egg hunt. The bunny left a note and told them if they found a few empty ones they weren't to be sad. It was to remind them that the tomb of Jesus was empty and He was alive and wanting to live forever in their hearts. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Morning

Just came in from taking a little Easter morning walk. As I watched the sunrise I tried to imagine what it would have been like to be one of the women who went to Jesus' tomb that morning when it all started. The shock, the fear, the confusion they must have felt...until they heard these words. "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen." And then there was joy!

Wishing you a day of joy as you celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.
Because He lives, we can know without doubt that life will be eternal for us too.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Birthday Give-away!

I was so excited last week when I celebrated my birthday by giving away 2471 Kindle copies of "A Portrait of Dawn", the first book of The Dawn Trilogy. I am even more excited this week as I begin to read the reviews that are coming in. It does my heart good knowing it's touching the hearts of people I don't know.

This review came in a couple of days ago.:

wonderful story March 31, 2014
"A Portrait of Dawn" drew me in from the beginning. I quickly identified with Beth, and felt the sense of yearning and violation. My heart ached for her as she faced the situations, and I rejoiced with her as the story unfolded to see her fulfilled. You'll want the complete set of this trilogy, Books Two and Three promise to be just as endearing.

If you didn't get yours while it was free, the Kindle edition is still only $2.99 and the paper back is just $10.76 from Amazon.

Monday, March 24, 2014



To celebrate my birthday this week, (I'm at the age that I recognize birthdays as the gifts they really are!) I'm offering my first book, "A Portrait of Dawn" FREE on Kindle. If you or someone you know hasn't read it, this is your chance.

"A Portrait of Dawn" is the first book of The Dawn Trilogy and has all 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon. The other two books are "Dawn's New Day, A Love Story" and "Reflections of Dawn"

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My Mom and The Piano

My Mom and The Piano
          My mother grew up in what we would now call an underprivileged home. No dad, no money, and none of the extras in life.  She married a poor farm boy at the age of seventeen.
          Just one year after they married, and one week before I was born, my parents met Jesus and their lives were changed forever. Jesus gave them hope for a better tomorrow. And I was born into a Christian home.
          When I was about six years old, my parents decided I would have one of the “extras” in life that they were not privileged to have. I would have piano lessons. And since my mom wanted to learn to play, she decided to take them too. On the day we went to our first piano lesson, my mom and I started a special journey together. It became a bond that just the two of us shared.  
          My dad, who became a pastor at a small country church, somehow managed to scrape together enough money to buy us a new piano.  Mom loved practicing on it, but it was my least favorite thing to do. I begged and pleaded to quit my lessons, but my parents refused to let me.  The battle got so bad that one day I ran out of the house at practice time, and climbed the cherry tree. That was not very smart. When I finally climbed down, there was a cherry tree twig waiting for me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sting of that thing on my bare legs.
          So, I practiced …for years, and so did mom. When I was a teenager, my dad also bought us an organ for our home. The best memories I have of me and my mom are of her at the organ, and me at the piano, playing the old hymns.
          Just recently, as I was going through some old scrapbooks, I found one that my mom made for me when I graduated from high school. In the very back of the book, I found this poem she had written just for me. It brought tears to my eyes as I read the words she wrote.

The Pianist
There she goes now, to the piano to play.
She’s there each Sunday, to sweet and gay.
 (obviously written when that word meant happy)
And prayer meeting night, she’s at her place.
Playing the old hymns like “Amazing Grace.”

Each song she plays, she seems to feel.
Her music, to me, makes God seem more real.
As the offering is taken, she starts to play,
A song from her heart, it’s “O Happy Day.”

I’m so glad she knows, the time and the place,
And even the day, that by God’s grace,
She was saved from sin and from sin set free.
For the girl at the piano means so much to me.

It’s not just her playing that stirs my heart.
But her place in my life, she’s played a great part.
Many times, I’ve call her name as I pray,
For that is my daughter at the piano today.

          Mom’s been gone now for many years, but every Sunday when I sit down at my piano, I look at the picture of the two of us sitting on the old piano bench, and I smile. And then, because she loved them, and because they still speak to my heart, I play the old hymns that she and I used to play together. And I’m thankful for the cherry switch, the years I was forced to practice, my dad’s sacrifice, and the sweet memories I have of me and mom at the piano.   


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It's a Celebration!


the price of Book One has been reduced to $2.99 on Kindle. 

In multiple Amazon reviews, readers have compared these books to Kingsbury, Rivers and  Sparks.

But you be the judge!

The paperbacks are also reasonably priced if you prefer that book in your hands.



Monday, February 17, 2014


Carly at Toledo Botanical Gardens-Spring 2006

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrew 11:1
If you know me very well, you know I'm not a great lover of winter. There was a time when I missed the beauty of autumn because I was dreading the coming winter. But several years ago, I decided to stop doing that and take each day as it came, and try to find some good in each one. I really have tried to do that this winter, but my patience is running low. 

I heard on the news last night that we have an additional 3-5 inches of snow coming tonight. Now that doesn't sound so bad, until you look outside my windows and see the mountains of snow we already have. In fact, the upcoming snowfall will break all records for Northwest Ohio. 

 In addition to the horrible weather, there have been other things that have made this winter unbearable. Two deaths in the family in less than a month, sick grandkids, and worry about where my kids are going to get more propane gas to stay warm. 

So what does a person who hates winter do in the middle of a winter like this? We cherish our faith, count our blessings, and hang on to hope.

 I am so glad today that God encourages us to cast all our cares on Him. Sometimes, that's the only thing we can do. And the blessings? Oh, yes, they are there. The babies might have the sniffles, ear aches and sore throats, but it could be a lot worse. I know of children right now who are terminally ill. 

And then there is hope. In the sixty-one years I've been alive, spring has always followed winter. Not once did the daffodils fail to bloom. 

So, just for today...because I'm tired of looking at the gray skies and mountains of snow, I'm going to close my blinds, light some candles, and bake some cookies. Then I'll settle down with a good book and get lost in fiction, because right now, I don't like reality . 

Spring will come, but until it does, I'm going to cherish the blessings I do have...a warm house, a good book and a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. And I'm going to dream about daffodils when I go back to bed tonight.   

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Beautiful Lady

I've been a member of the Young family for forty-two years. From day one, my mother-in-law made me feel loved and accepted. She was a kind and gentle woman, and in all the years I've known her, I never heard her say one negative or critical thing about anyone.

When my own mother died almost thirty years ago, she became the only mother I had. Her quiet influence on my life will never be forgotten.

When alzheimers began to steal away her beautiful mind, she slowly forgot the names and faces of those she loved so much. But, this past Saturday, when my sweet mother-in-law passed from this life into the next, I'm sure her mind was instantly and completely restored. She knew Jesus the minute she saw Him. I like to think that after she talked with Him for awhile, her two grandsons took her by the hand and said, "Come on Gramma, we'll show you around heaven."

Her death was a spiritual experience for me, and for others who circled her bed last Saturday. Although their hearts were aching, her children created a moment of beauty for their mother as they sang to her when she made her transition from this life to the next.

The words they sang to her were these, and I'm so glad they are true:

Because he lives
I can face tomorrow
Because he lives
All fear is gone
Because I know
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because he lives

 As a hospice nurse, I felt honored to be there to support the other members of the family since most of them had never been at the bedside of a dying person. But the greatest honor was being her daughter-in-law. I'll miss you, Betty Young. And it does seem appropriate that we say good-bye to you on Valentines Day. You were an example of pure love.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Walk to Remember

A Walk To Remember

Six year old Jack came to spend the afternoon with his Gramma yesterday. Since he is a great lover of animals and everything about animals, we decided to go for a walk in the new snow to see if we could find any animal tracks. We found a few. Deer, raccoon and rabbit, but not the fox tracks we were looking for. We knew that fox was back in the woods because it killed our chickens last summer. Jack also informed me that a fox was a "predator," and we should be careful.

We ended up walking through the "forest" behind our house and going all the way to the boy scout woods where we "discovered" an enchanted frozen lake. It was beautiful. Jack and I actually made more tracks than we saw, but it was okay. We had great fun, even though we both got tired and had to find some walking sticks. (Gramma had forgotten how difficult it is to walk in snow that's a foot deep, and in some spots, up to her knees!)

It was a special day with a special boy and this Gramma will be forever grateful I had the chance to make a memory with him.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

My Favorite Chair

And the Memories That Go With It


I love my home, but I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to furnishing it.
 Don't get me wrong, I like for my home to look nice,
 but I'm more concerned with comfort than style.
With that in mind, I'd like to tell you about my favorite chair.
It isn't as old as the rocking chair in the corner
 that my great-grandmother sat in to rock my grandpa,
 but by today's standards it has some years on it.
I bought it for myself about ten years ago.
The reason I bought it is another story that I'll tell another day.
For now, I don't know why, but for some reason,
 I need to share why I love my chair.
First of all, it's comfortable. It's an overstuffed, rocker/recliner with upholstery
 that's soft and gets softer every year.
It's a light wheat color and used to be clean. 
It has a few stains on it now.
On a cold winter day like today,
it's my favorite spot because it's right next to the fireplace
 and I can stretch out in it and easily take a nap.
I did that this morning.
Well, I stretched out in it, but I didn't take a nap.
Instead, I let my mind go down memory lane.
Over the years, I've set in my chair and talked to a lot of people.
Those people crossed my mind this morning as I lay resting my eyes.
In some cases, I could remember, almost word for word, the conversations we had.
Good conversations with fascinating people.
 I remember laughing with them, crying with them,
and once, a friend and I talked about the meaning of life and love.
That was years ago, but seems like it was just yesterday
In recent times, I sit in my chair to do my favorite things in life.
I read, I write and I rock babies.
  And I share my chair.
I've had as many as four grandbabies in my chair with me.
The arms rests are large and can easily hold a child, plus I can get two on my lap.
It's a good place to read books to grandbabies.
I'm not the only one who likes to sit in my chair though.
 Just this week, it became a favorite place for a big cousin to love on a little cousin.
I think I'll keep my chair forever.
I feel peaceful when I sit in it, and the memories are wonderful.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Final Book of the Dawn Trilogy coming soon!

                                                               The Dawn Trilogy

Beth grew up in a home with an abusive, alcoholic dad. She became pregnant at the age of 16 and chose to give her child up for adoption. In "A Portrait of Dawn" we watch God take her brokenness and turn it into a work of beauty. And the child she gave up for adoption? Yes, there was a purpose for her can read about it in "Dawn's New Day, A Love Story". And now, this contemporary fiction series ends with three generations coming together in "Reflections of Dawn."

Reflections of Dawn
Ben Browning found the love of his life when he met Katy Clinton. Their love was infused with wonder and their lives with deep joy when they were blessed with a son. Although heartbreakingly brief, Ben told himself the love he shared with Katy was enough to last a lifetime.
Two years have passed since Katy was taken from him, and although Ben believes he will never love again, he promised Katy he would try, so their son, Sam, could have a mother. Then one day, Leah—beautiful, gentle and mysterious—enters his world.
This poignant and unforgettable final book of the Dawn Trilogy is the beautiful story of Ben’s journey out of the lonely darkness of grief and back into loves warm embrace.




























Saturday, January 25, 2014

Feeling Too Young for Social Security?

My most recent article published in February Boomers Today
Feeling Too Young for Social Security?

            Well, here we are again. The old year is gone and a new one has arrived.

            For some reason, I just had a flashback to that old Tennessee Ernie Ford song from the 50’s. It said something about being another year older, and deeper in debt. The getting older part is undeniably true for all of us, but let’s hopes we were smart enough during the holidays to not go deeper in debt.

            I’ve been looking forward to 2014 year for quite awhile now. It’s the year I’m eligible for social security retirement benefits, if I want them. I started working in a nursing home kitchen when I was sixteen, so have been contributing to that fund for forty six years now. It sure seems like it would be wise to start collecting some of what I’ve put into it. (By the way, it’s not an entitlement; it’s a savings account I foolishly allowed the federal government to administer for me. In 1968, I thought I could trust them.)

                But now that my long anticipated year is here, I don’t feel old enough to sign my name on that particular dotted line. Actually, I feel shocked that it’s time. This moment has come too soon, and I may decide not to do it. I still have a lot of energy, and I continue to have the potential to make money, so why would I want to spend my savings? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to, right?

            As I think about my options, I’m reminded of a story I heard a couple years back. One of my writer friends told us about a woman he interviewed who was 102 years old. When he called her for an appointment, she said she was busy so could only give him one hour for the interview.

            Apparently, she had been busy her whole life. When she was in her 50's, her doctor husband died, and since she was his nurse, she lost, not just her husband, she lost her job too. She said she sat around for awhile, then decided to get up and "do" something.  When she was in her 50's, she went to school to be a teacher.  In her 60's she decided to go back to school again to become a social worker, because of all of the trouble kids she was seeing as a teacher. In her 70's she bought a huge farm and turned it into a home for troubled teens. When she turned 100, she decided it was time to start writing about what her life had been like for the first 100 years! I guess we are never too old to try something new!

            In Psalms 71:18 we are told that God has a purpose for all of us when are old. The verse says this, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” 

            What a comfort to know that even though I live in a society that says I’m old enough to retire and collect Social Security, God can still use me to talk (or write) about what He has done for us me. I can continue to allow my life to be a testimony of His grace. I pray I never get too old to do that.

© 2013 Brenda J. Young


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rest in Peace, Sweet David

Jan 13, 2014

One week ago today, I was wakened by the sound of my phone ringing. Someone calling me before my day starts is rarely a good sign, so my heart was pounding before I even said “hello.”

It was bad news. My daughter was on the other end of the line. “Mom?” I could hear the tears in her voice. “David died.” The pain that flooded my heart caused a cry of distress. “Oh, God. No! Not our David.” He died six hours after riding his snowmobile in a blinding snow storm. He loved snowmobiling.

David was special to me. He was the son of my husband’s brother. He was their third child and second son. I will never forget the first time I held him in my arms. He was a chubby little guy and absolutely perfect in every way.

I was six months pregnant when I cuddled him that day, and I remember praying that the child I was carrying would be a little boy just like the one I held in my arms. My husband and I already had two little girls and we wanted a little boy so much.

Because it was 1978 and there were no ultrasounds yet, expectant parents had to wait until the birth of their child to find out the sex of their newborns. Everyday after that, I prayed for a son.

On the tenth of April, exactly three months after David’s birth on January tenth, God answered my prayers and I became the mother of a son. My joy was complete. 

Over the next five year, those two little boys became friends, playing together at church and at family get-togethers. Then during the summer they were five, my son died.

After I learned to deal with my grief, I began to watch David with special interest. When he went to school, I knew if my son was here, he would go too. When David lost his first tooth, I thought about what it would have been like for my son to lose his first one too. Over the years, every milestone that David hit, became the milestone my son would have experienced too. And as the years passed, David became more precious to me. Not only was he my nephew, he became an extension of my own son and I loved watching him grow up.

David never lost his chubbiness, and because of that and his endearing personality, he became the family’s big teddy bear. He had a shy grin and made all of us laugh. Because he went to the same church as me, I had the privilege of being the youth director when he was a teenager. He became the group prankster and you never knew what he was going to do next. One Christmas, he brought a special gift for our white elephant gift exchange. It was a dead opossum he picked up off the road and froze until he could give it the girl in the group who would squeal the loudest.

When my phone rang last Monday I began to grieve over the loss of David, my nephew, and the cousin who was suppose to grow old with my own son. I knew our family would never be the same without him. And my heart hurt for his mother. The pain of losing a child is intense and it changes a woman forever. The only comfort I can give her is that our sons, the cousins, are once again together in a place more wonderful than we can imagine.

David was buried on his thirty-sixth birthday in a place not far from where my son was laid to rest. They are together again, and two mothers wait for the day when they can join their boys.


The Young Cousins, Christmas 1982
David is the third one up in the middle.
His buddy, Jason, is right in front of him, and the cousin that became his
best friend is on the left in the white shirt.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Prerequisites to Writing a Book

Gramma says I have to learn to spell before I write a book.
Is this a good way to learn to do that?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Blessed Holidays

Christmas 2013
Great-grandpa Suman with about half of his Great-grandkids.